Me, in 2006 in Mexico1) What did your family do for vacations when you were a child? Or did you have stay-cations at home? It was just my Mom and I and other than two big trips - she took me to Hawaii when I was about 10 and to Europe when I was 13. The trip to Europe was horrible. It was one of those bus tours where you visit 75 countries in 13 days. I was 13 and miserable, what can I say? Other than that we lived in Southern California and went to the beach a lot and Disneyland occasionally.
2) Tell us about your favorite vacation ever:
When my husband was alive -there are two
Before we were married we drove cross country from Wisconsin to California for my ordination. First we went to Seattle to visit my sister and then drove down the coast. That was when I knew we were right for each other that we survived a cross country drive without killing each other. Or even fighting that I can remember. I remember those as carefree days. We stopped for ice cream and had about an 8 hour drive to our final destination at my Mom's. We decided we were tired of driving, found a hotel and called my Mom and said we'd get there the next day. I don't think I've ever felt that free to change plans since then. It was a magical time.
Fast forward several years later 1996 - kids are 6 and 8 and we met my sister for a vacation in Colorado Springs. Just had a wonderful time. Loren my husband was an excursion train nut and we took the Durango-SIlverton train through the mountains. It was wondeful. Two years later we camped near Custer State Park. Now that I think about it we really did have a lot of great vacations as a family. My husband would always plan them.
Another thing I remembered about our vacations - I would buy the brightest, gaudiest fabric I could find and make us all matching shirts. And my husband, God bless him, would wear them without complaint. Here's a picture of him in a shirt I made for him out of fabric with trains on it. He was such a good sport.
After my husband died - Two vacations stand out. My husband and I had planned to take our kids to Washington DC when they were 9 & 11 and that's exactly what I did. We spent a week in DC, then I rented a car and we went up to Gettysburg and then down to Harpers's Ferry, Sheanadoah forest, stopped at Montecello and then spent a couple of days in Williamsburg, VA. One great thing about my kids they always loved these sight seeing - historical and natural sights vacations and never begged to go to amusement parks. Though we did go to the Hershey park in Hershey PA!
And then I took a chunk of the life insurance and took the kids on a three week trip to Italy when they were 14 and 16. Another margical trip. No organized tour - just on our own - we took the train everywhere. First we went to Sorrento, then rented an apartment for a week in Rome, then Florence and then Venice. I have a detailed report on that trip here
When my daughter was skating we used to travel a lot to go to skating competitions. I always tried to get in some sightseeing whereever we went.
3) What do you do for a one-day or afternoon getaway...is there a place nearby that you escape to on a Saturday afternoon/other day off?
I always like to go to the State Fair whatever state I'm in. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Farmers Market in Des Moines and that was so big it was almost like going to the fair.
4) What's your best recommendation for a full-on vacation near you...what would you suggest to someone coming to your area? (Near - may be defined any way you wish!)
I recommend the Iowa State Fair. Good food. Lots of people and things to see. But if you go to the midwest - Go to Wisconsin - there's much more to do and prettier things to see.
5) What's your DREAM VACATION? I love to travel. I'd love to go to Africa.
Bonus: Any particularly awful (edited to add: or hilarious) vacation stories that you just have to tell? ("We'll laugh about this later..." maybe that time is now!)
Just that we used to say about my daughter "The vacation is not over until Sarah throws up" I think you get the picture.